The Tuesday evening of the Filipinos in the Southern Luzon region of the Philippines, specifically the province of Batangas, was packed with fears and tremors after a magnitude 5.5 earthquake hit on April 4, 2017. The epicenter of the quake was found in Tingloy, Batangas at 8:58 p.m. PHT with a depth of 5 kilometers.
The shake was followed by a jolt of aftershocks ranging from 2.0 to 4.9 magnitude earthquake as of posting. Batangas Provincial Governor Hermilando Mandanas said that the initial inspections reveal over Php18 million (roughly $360,000) worth of damages on infrastructures, including those which were incurred by the Batangas Provincial Capitol building, Rappler reports.
Among the notable destructions caused by the said earthquake was in the Minor Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours commonly known as the Taal Basilica. Several photos showing the scattered debris of the damaged front façade of the church quickly spread on the internet and social media sites. Taal Basilica was constructed in 1575 and is considered as a historical site and the largest Catholic church in all of Asia.
The aftermath of the 5.5 magnitude quake has left damaged school canteens, broken glasses on food establishments and terrified citizens who, up to this moment, continue to experience numerous hits of aftershocks. Aside from the Batangas province, the quake was also slightly felt in other parts of the Philippines including Metro Manila and Laguna province.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) confirmed that the 5.5 magnitude earthquake was not expected to cause any major damages. The agency also said that the quake will not cause a tsunami and volcanic eruption, contrary to the false information that was disseminated through social media. A report by Philstar has advised the public to refrain from sending information from unverified and unknown sources unless it is from the official website of PHIVOLCS so as to avoid panic and alarm to others.
The government of Batangas has declared the grant of Php1 million or $20,000 for the rehabilitation of the Taal Basilica, being one the significant historic sites in the country. Further, 200 sacks of cement will likewise be given to the municipality of Tingloy to recover the damages incurred from the earthquake.